Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hot Mama

A guest of my next-door neighbor propositioned me this morning, as I was walking Alice. This is wrong on so many levels: from the fact that he seemed fairly inebriated for 7:30 on a Monday morning, to-- hello! married woman from next door, not fellow drunk girl at club--, to the fact that I'd forgotten that it's possible to feel utterly awful inside, and still look normal outside. I'm still physically wrung out from the miscarriage; I'm pretty sure that I've developed both an iron deficiency and a uterine infection. The way I feel about my body right now is crap, it has failed me again and again; the very essence of my feminity is trampled and defeated. My usually-more-than-generous sex drive is MIA. Plus, I'm still depressed as hell and kind of at an emotional loss. Essentially, I'm so far from my usual healthy self-image that the idea of someone else finding me attractive (even in the basest hey-you're-hot! kind of way) just seems incongruous. Everybody should be able to see the mess within, seemingly, and it's startling when they can't.


Last autumn, Don and I had a pumpkin on our front porch table; just for decoration (or possibly it was for pie but I just forgot to bring it inside). It sat there until it got kind of soft, and a windstorm blew the table over and sent the pumpkin sailing into the yard, where it burst pumpkiny guts all over. Apparently my clean-up job wasn't perfect, because right now we have a few enormous pumpkin plants taking over the yard-- anyone who's grown pumpkins, squash, or zucchini knows what I'm talking about; these vines could swallow a Volkswagon. We have huge orange blossoms but no pumpkins as yet, and Don has sworn to leave the plants until we get fruit, even though they're close enough to the sidewalk and porch to threaten passersby.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Note to self:

The next time (God forbid) the doctors offer you a d&c, for the love of all that is holy, TAKE IT. Remember this.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

If you can't segue, then bullet point

-- My miscarriage is finally starting. One-half relief, one-half crushing disappointment. Plenty of pain and blood to go around. Once I know that a pregnancy isn't viable, then I just want it gone... knowing something that my body hasn't figured out yet is hard. I want it over with so that we can just get started on the next one. (I almost took the doctors up on getting the D&C, but my body is so good at miscarrying naturally that it seems a waste not to.) Except, there's always a tiny part of me that hoped that the doctors and their machines were wrong... that maybe there was a healthy embryo tucked away in there somewhere and we just couldn't see it-- maybe my uterus has a hidden corner or something. (Except that since I had the hsg done I know my uterus is exactly normal-shaped.) But still. I can't help but hold out a tiny bit of hope until my body gives up and the bleeding and cramping begin. Thank you, uterus, for recognizing the concept of weekend and holding out for me, and sparing me the trouble of miscarrying at work. I appreciate it, I do.

-- We've decided to do this just one more time. For anyone new to the game, this is my fourth miscarriage since last March-- what is that, sixteen months? It's hard physically, but mentally, (emotionally? sanity-wise?) I'm afraid it's pushing me over the edge. I'm losing the emotional stability and rational perspective that has always been one of my more advantageous traits. (Be honest-- you thought that stealing-a-baby-from-the-grocery-store thing was a joke, didn't you.) We can not just keep getting pregnant only to lose the pregnancy, ad nauseum, until we're both bitter, sad, shells of human beings. So we'll try to get pregnant again after the mandatory waiting period. We'll each take our amazing collection of supplements, the selenium and vitamin E and folic acid. I'll take my progesterone religiously, again. But if we lose the next pregnancy too, then that's it. That would be five, a nice round number to stop at.

-- At which point we'll start looking into adoption and etc. ("Etc" being fostering, theft, and those Law and Order: SVU episodes that start with a heavily pregnant woman getting kidnapped. Just kidding. Mostly.) But I've got a bone to pick with the general world about adoption. Don't get me wrong, I have no issue with the concept in general, but as soon as people find out about what Don and I have been going through re: trying to have a baby, they jump on the adoption train. Why don't we "just" adopt? Did we know there are lots of babies out there that need loving parents? Well you helpful people, did YOU adopt your children? Perhaps a better question is, why do you see adoption as the last resort of people that can't seem to have genetically related offspring? Don't stand there holding your self-birthed child and mouth cliches about adoption, as though we have no right to even try to have our own like you did. Because we are having fertility problems, suddenly those "unwanted" babies are much more our problem than yours. Why do I have to defend my right to want to get pregnant, when you didn't? Because we need help? Because our attempts at conception are so obviously intentional and can't be written off as thoughtless reproduction? As it happens, I have reasons for wanting "my own". Some of them are selfish. All of them are human. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not ruling out adoption. It may become our salvation. And of course we've thought about it. Find me a couple that's been through what we have that hasn't spent hours going over the idea. I just don't like the concept that us wanting to do what everyone else seems to do almost without thinking, is not okay. (Worst sentence ever, I know.)

-- Random reasons for wanting to conceive own offspring: I want to feel what it's like to have a baby move inside me. Want to waddle down the street, hugely pregnant. Want to give birth. Want to breastfeed-- maybe for a long time. I am a mammal, dammit. I want what every hamster, bat, blue whale and grizzly bear--as well as most female humans-- want, on the most instinctual, animalistic level imaginable. It's a primal hunger, a force. I want to send my own genetic material into the future, for unimaginable, untold generations. Every living creature lives to do that, from the E. coli in your colon, to those blind fish that live in caves, to the morning glories climbing over our front porch, who busily make flowers and seedpods every day. I want to see what my children would be like. Would any of them have my green eyes? Would we be able to trace traits to my parents, my grandparents? Perhaps I'd have a child that more closely resembles-- in looks, or personality-- my brother or sister than me. "You are so much like your uncle, did you know that?" Would they have our intelligences? Our stubbornness? Or perhaps they'd be completely different. Sometimes the apple does fall far away; we all know someone that is completely different than either parent. That would be cool, too.

--I play with Mendel, trying to figure out statistical likelihoods. My paternal grandfather, a Russian Jew, had blue eyes. (If you don't know, that's fairly unusual.) Because of that, even though my dad has the much more typical dark, dark eyes of his mother, he carries a gene for light eyes, so marrying my green-eyed mother made it possible for me to have her green eyes, and my brother to have (our grandfather's? Or something from our mother's side?) blue, and my sister to get his deep brown. Meanwhile, my dad's sister, who of course also had dark brown eyes but was carrying the recessive gene, married my uncle who has the standard dark eyes, and they had three brown-eyed offspring, my cousins. But any of them could be carrying an unexpressed blue-eyed gene, which has manifested again in my cousin Robin's baby; even though both she and her partner have brown eyes, this dark-eyed, dark haired couple has a baby with blue eyes and (so far) red hair. My long-deceased grandfather's blue eyes have shown up again, two generations later. Because I married someone with beautiful hazel eyes, it's certain that our children would have light eyes-- blue, green, or hazel. That stuff fascinates me, and I always assumed that one day I'd see it carried out into the next generation. Yeah, I know, it's a stupid reason to have kids. But tell me that you didn't spend hours wondering (when you were pregnant, when you were trying, or just whenever) about the same kinds of things. Hoping that some defining trait of a well-loved relative would manifest in your own offspring, wondering if the baby you carried would have your height or your husband's non-height. The first thing a family does upon seeing a new baby, is to start arguing over its features. Mothers will inform anyone who is listening that so-and-so (usually the dad) looked JUST like that as a newborn. It's a cliche, and yet the fact that it's a cliche demonstrates that it's not just me who has this selfish desire to see my own traits, my husbands, and my family's, be re-born.

So before you write me off as selfish for trying so, so hard to get pregnant (and stay that way), you had better have adopted your own children-- and not as a last resort when nothing else worked. Only then can you prove that you didn't have the exact same reasons-- or ones just as silly-- for having your babies the traditional way.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

And Now for Something Completely Different

... in which I talk about work. Well not really about work, but about banking. Or banks. Or something. I know I bitch and complain about my job here occasionally, and (believe me), I am still annoyed by one million things about my position, my manager, my coworkers, etc. Right now, though, I'm kind of relieved that I work for this particular financial institution, which of course I can't name here but if you know me you know what it is. Let's just say that if banks were in high school, mine would be voted "Least Likely to Fail". If banks were a reality show, it'd be the Last Bank Standing. Finally, all that conservatism--the caution in making loans, the none-too-great interest rates-- is paying off, so that in a time when it really kind of sucks to be working in the financial industry, at least I don't have to worry about scandal, bad press, getting laid off, or the FDIC stepping in and taking over. Considering that I applied for jobs at a lot of banks and it was sheer chance that I work for this one, I consider it a lucky break.

Monday, July 14, 2008

In keeping with the "why me?" theme, also known as the "it never rains but it pours" motif, or perhaps the "universe is fucking with me" idea...

I am covered in poison ivy. Head to toe, mostly on my back. I realize that an itchy rash is hardly on par with losing another baby, but that combined with everything that happened last week (i.e. the whole truck-getting-towed, me-getting-stranded saga), added to the fact that I just spent over three hundred dollars getting the air conditioner in my car fixed only to have it NOT working any better than before, and I feel like throwing in the towel. Can't I just crawl into bed with my cortizone cream and my benedryl, and stay there a week or two?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

When the going gets sad...

The sad bake cookies. Damn good cookies.

Some people use their whiteboards for grocery lists... mine is for vows.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


OK, well, so I'm back. Yeah. Many things to write about now. I'll start with a confession, because those are always fun. When I announced that I was taking a break from posting, it was because I'd just found out that we were pregnant again. My plan to get knocked up on our first cycle of trying again was fairly successful, making it our second time for a first-try pregnancy. If that makes any sense. I lost the desire to discuss the pregnancy here, though, for a couple of reasons. For one thing, my parents and brother were coming to Virginia to visit us, and I wanted to wait and share the news in person, for once, rather than over the phone; somehow dishing about it here several weeks before telling them didn't seem right. The main issue, though, was just that we've been through this so many times now, that my thoughts and emotional patterns have become repetitive. I couldn't stomach posting daily about how I was scared. Excited. Scared again. Hopeful. Worried. It's the same every time.

My family came to town, we told them our news, and all was joyous. Our ultrasound was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, and I decided that if it looked good, I'd come back here with the sonogram pictures and announce the pregnancy. If it was bad news, I'd come back to sob about another failure. Well, there are no sonogram pictures here today*. I am in that lovely span of time where I get to wonder whether I'll miscarry naturally again, or have to have a D & C. Did I mention that Don was on a business trip when I found out? And that I had to call him and tell him that we weren't having a baby after all? He had wanted me to put the ultrasound off for a week so that we could be together for it, and I demurred... I needed to see in there and see what was happening so badly that waiting another week seemed impossible.

Even though this is our fourth loss in a row, the doctors are adamant that it has nothing to do with the other three. Seriously. This one is random, couldn't have been helped by anything, just plain bad luck. You know how most women that have a miscarriage just have one, and it turns out that there's nothing wrong with them, and they have healthy pregnancies afterwards? This is that kind of miscarriage. It's hard for me to wrap my mind around the idea, that after three other losses, we get the "random bad luck" miscarriage that is an anembryonic pregnancy, more commonly called a blighted ovum. It seems like more than our fair share of bad luck, like the universe is fucking with us. But since when is life fair, right? Things could be worse. They can always be worse. We had a second ultrasound this morning, just to make absolutely sure there isn't anything in there-- no missed twin, nothing like that-- before making the decision to stop the hormone treatment, since doing that would end even a healthy pregnancy. I did ask the doctor about Don's side of the fertility equation**, given the substantial age difference between us and the decades of hard living, but he essentially pointed out that as Don's gotten me pregnant four times in sixteen months, his sperm is not really to be questioned. But he gave me a list of vitamin and mineral supplements for the man, so I just spent a week's pay at Whole Foods for things like selenium and Vitamins C and E. It's interesting what we do when we have no control over a situation, isn't it? Oh, and I'm still infatuated with this RE practice. After the feet-in-stirrups part of a visit, they have me get dressed and come into an office, so that we can talk across a (round) table as fully-dressed adults, rather than continuing to talk at me while I'm still on the table, naked from the waist down and wrapped in a sheet. The added dignity is nice. Plus, I was twenty minutes late for my appointment (remind me to tell you that story some time, it involved our new truck*** getting towed from the parking lot at work, leaving me stranded with no ride, no cash, no debit card) and they were very gracious about it. Then they made a special appointment for today, a Saturday, for the followup since it's so hard for me to get out of work. If we get pregnant again I wonder if I could stay with them the whole time (assuming that is longer than a few weeks) instead of transferring back to the obstetrician.

P.S. Oh yeah, and we bought the house. It is ours. Or more accurately, 20% of it is ours, and the other 80% we will slowly buy back from the bank over 20 or 30 years. So at least one definite, constructive thing has happened this year, which is nice. Before, I was joking with Don that in future years, we will look back and remember 2007 as the year we wed, 2008 as the year we became homeowners, and 2009 as the year of the first baby. It is not entirely too late for that, since this one would have been due in February, but I am having a hard time believing that we'll ever successfully sustain a pregnancy.

*Interestingly, they still *take* the pictures for a failed pregnancy, they just don't give you copies for your fridge. I think that's probably a good idea, because otherwise I might go around showing people, "...and here's where there should have been an embryo, and yet look! It's not there! That's called an anembryonic pregnancy! Isn't that an oxymoron? Because you'd think the definition of being pregnant would be that there's an embryo inside you!" Instead, the photos get stapled to something in your file. My file is starting to look impressively thick.

** The only test they've done on Don so far is a chromosomal analysis to make sure that he doesn't have any genetic abnormalities.

*** We bought a new truck a little while ago, I don't think I ever mentioned it here. Although it's half mine (I paid for half of it and my name's on the title too) I think of it as Don's truck because it's replacing his 1993 Ford Ranger. This one is *exactly* the same truck, except that it's a 2006 and a beautiful dark red color instead of silver.